This review is for a May 2013 sailing of the celebrity summit from Bayonne, NJ to Bermuda. DH and I are in our 30s and this was our second time on the summit, the last was a Southern Caribbean Cruise a few years ago before her refurbishment.
We drove to NJ the day before and stayed with family. We arrived at the cruise port around 11:30am, dropped off the luggage, and waited in line about 20 minutes to get through the security scanners. Check in took only a few minutes and after that, we were on a bus that took us over to the entrance to get on board. A glass of welcome champagne in hand and we were ready to start vacation!
As many will say, the summit is an older ship and it is showing some wear and tear in places. With that said however, crew members were constantly cleaning and painting and I think they work hard to take good care of her. One thing we love about celebrity or the summit in particular is her particularly hard working and excellent crew. We went to the martini bar to upgrade the beverage package we received as part of the 1-2-3 promotion and one of the bartenders took our cards, promised to remember our names for the week and take good care of us - and he did. Our stateroom attendant was similarly excellent, called us by name by midway through the week, went over and beyond to help us with anything we asked for or that he felt we might want.
Bermuda is beautiful and we found the public transportation to be very easy and reliable to use. Despite the breakaway being in port as well, we were able to hop right off the boat after docking, buy 2-day transportation tickets right outside of the boat (bring cash! $25 pp for a 2 day pass), and were second in line for the 9:30 ferry to St. George. No problems there. St George is fun to walk around in, we also walked to Tobacco Bay. It was pretty but not a lot of fish, good for kids though because the water is shallow and very calm. There is a bathroom and changing rooms - no shower though! The weather was beautiful and hot enough to want to go swimming, but being that early in May, the water was still too chilly for me to want to spend much time in the ocean. There is a snack bar and also a place to rent umbrellas and chairs ($5 for chairs, $7 for umbrellas). There is a guy in his car there that will take you back to town for a dollar. We had tea at the Sweet P next to the Bermuda Perfumery and took the late afternoon ferry back to the dockyard (about a 40 minute ride, bring a sweater as it can get chilly up on top deck).
The second day we took the bus to horseshoe bay. Here there are public changing facilities and showers as well as a beach bar and place to rent umbrellas and chairs (more expensive here, 30 something for 1 chair and 1 umbrella but I think they gave us 10 dollars back when we returned everything). The walk past the beach into the little rock coves is very pretty . There were people in the water but again, too cold for me personally. We spent a few hours here and then hopped back on the bus as we wanted to check out church bay, which is on the way back to the dockyard. This beach is at the bottom of a rock cliff, really dramatic and beautiful. There is a staircase down the hills and again a place to rent umbrellas and chairs. The only facilities are at the top of the hill and they are rudimentary so don't expect too much. I had read that this is a great place for snorkeling but again, too windy with rough water on the day we went for me to want to get in for this although I did see 2 people out snorkeling along the rocks.
The third day was Bermuda day, which is a holiday with reduced transportation on the island. In retrospect I think we probably could have made it out to the beaches again if we had left earlier enough but instead to be on the safe side, we booked a ship's excursion, this time a boat ride from the dockyard to the zoo/aquarium. Flatts village is very picturesque and the aquarium/zoo has some surprisingly nice fish and animals for such a small island. I think kids or anyone who likes zoos or aquariums would probably like it.
The trip back from Bermuda to NJ was rocky! I did hear some veteran cruisers say they felt it was nothing but for me, it was enough to put a damper on the last day and convince me that perhaps cruising in the Atlantic is not for me. Still, we are grateful to have had a safe, fun, and relaxing cruise. Overall we really enjoyed it and felt lucky to have been able to see Bermuda.